Your Panning Style

Using a Goldpan takes Patience and Practice. The more you practice, the better you will get and the more GOLD you will find. Good Luck! May your pan always FLASH with color!

It doesn't matter who you talk to, or who you watch demonstrating a panning technique. For every gold panner out there, there is a different way of panning. Each person has their own style, but the basic principles remain the same. A good video demonstrating many styles is given out by the The Gold Prospectors Association of America with membership, or sold separately.

I will, in my own humble way, try to discribe my own technique. If you happen to stop at the CRISSON GOLD MINE on a Saturday, I will often be there and will gladly demonstrate my own style for you. Just ask for Bill. The friendly people who run the Crisson mine will also demonstrate a different panning technique for you.

After trying several styles, pick the one that suits you best.

Equipment you will need: See numbered items.
bullet items are choices available

  1. A Goldpan
    • green plastic (small, medium or large)
    • black plastic (small, etc.)
    • metal (ditto) must be clean of any oils
  2. A Digging Tool
    • a hand trowel
    • a folding shovel
    • a large shovel
  3. A 5gal Bucket, used to
    • Carry tools to the panning site
    • Use as a stool while panning
    • Carry ore or concentrates home (with tools)
  4. Tweezers
  5. Sniffer Bottle
  6. Small plastic bottle for the gold
  7. large container for gold, if you feel lucky

Now the how to:

The first step is to put dirt into your pan. If you are just starting, only fill it up about 1/3 of the way. The amount should reflect your strength and size of pan, you do not want to tire yourself to soon. Place the pan under the water and keep it flat. Use your hand to mix up the dirt into a soupy mass while breaking up clumps and mud balls and also removing large rocks. Check those rocks before tossing them away, they might contain gold or even be a gold nugget. Swirl your hand in a circle while mixing the dirt and water. This will allow the mud, light sands and other particles to float away.

After mixing well, and keeping the pan just under the surface of the water, begin to shake the pan side to side. Not too hard or fast or you will shake out your gold. Not too slow either, because the gold cannot settle to the bottom. A way to test if you are doing it right, is to put a finger of one hand into the mix while still shaking with the other. You should be able to touch the bottom of the pan without resistance from the dirt. The mixture will be FLUID!

While still shaking the pan side to side, slowly tilt the pan until the V formed between the sides and bottom of the pan is on the bottom. The gold will begin to collect in this V. At the same time that the gold is settling to the bottom of the V, the lighter sands will be coming to the top of the mixture. After a few moments, stop shaking and let the mix settle. Then, while still keeping the pan at the same angle, slowly let water swish in ond out of the pan. This action will remove the lighter sands. When you begin to see the darker heavies, stop swishing and start your side to side action again. In a short while, more light sands will come to the top. Stop shaking again, as before, and begin swishing again. Continue these steps until nearly all the sand is gone.

At this time, with a little water in the pan with the concentrates, level the pan and use a swirling motion of the pan to slowly wash the black sands away from the edge of the pan. In the area at the edge that was the V, you should see any gold that you have in the pan. Tapping lightly on the edge of the pan nearest the gold will cause the gold to slide to the edge and away from the black sands. Use a dry finger, tweezers or a sniffer bottle to collect your gold.

Good luck! And may your pan FLASH with color!

Yet another method is mentioned on the Mayhill Press web page.

A real nice place where you can practice your panning skills, and located between Dahlonega and Cleveland Ga. is
The Gold N Gem Grubbing site